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The Rainbow Serpent


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About the Author

Dick Roughsey (Goobalathaldin) (1920-1985) was born on Mornington Island, Queensland, and named Goobalathaldin. A member of the Lardil 'tribe', he was one of five brothers and grew up in an Aboriginal family clan, leading a traditional lifestyle.

Aged eight Goobalathaldin was sent to a mission and given the name Dick. Educated at the mission school until he was thirteen, Roughsey then worked as a stockman on southern Gulf of Carpentaria cattle stations.

In the 1960s Roughsey and his elder brother Lindsay (Burrud) initiated a style of bark painting depicting Lardil sacred histories. After meeting airline pilot, Percy Trezise, Roughsey developed a finer painting technique that resulted in him creating the now-classic picture books, The Giant Devil Dingo (1973) and The Rainbow Serpent (1974).

Roughsey won the CBCA Book of the Year awards in 1976 and 1979. He was the founding chairman (1973-76) of the Australian Council for the Arts's Aboriginal Arts Board, and from 1974-75 served on the council of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

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